MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian manufacturing activity shrank for the third month in a row in July, with companies reporting the lowest degree of confidence since the start of 2018, the Markit purchasing managers’ index showed on Wednesday.
The index’s headline reading fell to 48.1, its lowest since July 2016, from 49.5 in June. The index remained below the 50.0 mark that separates expansion from contraction as both output and new orders declined in July.
“July survey data indicated a further deterioration in Russian manufacturing operating conditions... There were also signs of weaker foreign demand as new export orders contracted,” said Sian Jones, an economist at IHS Markit.
“On a positive note, pressure on profit margins eased as input prices rose at the slowest rate since March,” Jones said.
Business confidence remained relatively strong even though it has weakened to a seven-month low, the survey showed.
Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Hugh Lawson